Monday, May 31, 2010

The Obama Bump - It Held But May Be Ending, Update On The Site

The President's Best Month Since January, But the Rise Has Ended
By the polling data, President had his best month in May (note: there will be one more day of data included in the final numbers, but I don't anticipate them changing by more than a tenth of a point to what is published here) since January in terms of absolute approval numbers, with an approve minus disapprove of 3.6%. In terms of trend, it was his best month ever, with a 1.9% improvement over the April numbers, his first statistically significant improvement of his Presidency (his only other increase was from August to September of 2009 but it was less than 0.1%.)

A somewhat more positive jobs picture and the fading of some of the passion of the opposition to health care reform contributed to the President's bump for the month.

But more near-in polling indicates that the party may be over, at least for now. In a technical sense, the President's current number dipped below his monthly average on May 23rd and basically stayed there (with one point even with his average in between), indicating a lower start to his averages for the month of June. In a political sense, the continued (if somewhat overblown) controversy surrounding Joe Sestak and public disapproval of the government's handling of the gulf oil spill appear to be weighing on the President's numbers. His trend the past couple of weeks are below.

The President faces what I would call an empathy gap at the moment. President Bill Clinton was renowned for his ability to connect with people on an emotional level. In fact, perhaps his most famous words were "I feel your pain". President Bush, too, seemed able to connect with people in a crisis. I still remember his words at Ground Zero when he shouted into a bullhorn, after hearing that some of the workers gathered there couldn't hear him, "well, I can hear you...and the people who did this will be hearing from all of us soon." President Obama, in spite of his famously sweeping and inspiring speeches, seems as of yet unable to connect with people emotionally as a President. During both the Gulf Crisis and the ugly recession he has, at times seemed aloof, professorial and not particularly emotional.

Whether these things SHOULD matter or not is academic...they DO matter. Leadership is as much about inspiration as it is doing the technically correct things. And the President clearly has a gap in the inspiration department at the moment.

How The Site Is Doing
I haven't published a traffic history for this site in a while, so I thought I'd let you know how we are doing. Below is the monthly visits to the site every month since February 2009 (the first month for which I installed a counter and began keeping records.)

February 2009 - 235 Visits
March 2009 - 257 Visits
April 2009 - 221 Visits
May 2009 - 210 Visits
June 2009 - 366 Visits (Note: Ad posted on
July 2009 - 216 Visits
August 2009 - 171 Visits
September 2009 - 140 Visits
October 2009 - 191 Visits
November 2009 - 353 Visits (Note: Election for NJ & VA Governor)
December 2009 - 127 Visits
January 2010 - 253 Visits (Note: MA Senate special election)
February 2010 - 121 Visits
March 2010 - 339 visits (Note: Final votes on health care reform)
April 2010 - 171 Visits
May 2010 (through May 30th) - 174 Visits

Total Visits Since Feb 2009: 3,545
Total Visits Last 12 Months: 2,662

What I glean from these numbers is that the typical range for our site during non-political season is between 150 and 225 visits but we clearly see significant increases in site traffic during major elections and other political events. The current all-time high for site visits is 154 on March 21st, the date of passage of health care reform in the House of Representatives, but I suspect that will be surpassed on election night 2010. I also suspect that although I did not have the counter up in 2008, our true all-time high was probably on that election night.

Thank you for reading and for your support. Hopefully I can continue to provide insight and analysis that you find interesting, valuable and provocative.

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